THE death toll on the tragedy that befell Port Harcourt when a Manchester United fan, Daniel Chibuzor, rammed into celebrating Barcelona fans after the Spanish club's 2-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League has risen to six.
Four of the fans died instantly in the incident that occurred in Ogbo, a Port Harcourt suburb, on Wednesday. The Guardian learnt yesterday that two more of the fans, who were receiving treatment as a result of the injuries they sustained from the incident, died yesterday afternoon, while others were still receiving treatment.
Though Police Spokeswoman, Rita Abbey, refused to disclose the extent of investigations into the incident, sources close to the force disclosed that the man would soon be charged to court as "it is a clear case of premeditated murder." A source said: "We have concluded investigations into the matter and the next thing is to charge the suspect to court.
"He has confessed committing the offence, citing the devil as the force behind the crime but all those ones would be sorted out in court."
Another source, a medical doctor at the Ahoada General Hospital, where the victims were rushed to after the incident, told The Guardian that four of the victims were still at the hospital getting medical attention, while some more serious cases have been transferred to Port Harcourt for specialist attention. The source revealed that four of the victims died before they were brought to the hospital, but declined comments on the actual number of deaths recorded in the incident.
Chibuzor, who was said to be going home after his team's disappointing loss to Barcelona, rammed his vehicle into the jubilating Barca fans late on Wednesday night, killing four people on the spot and injuring several others. Abbey earlier explained that the "driver had passed the crowd then made a U-turn and ran into them.
"The man confessed to doing it on purpose, but he now says he doesn't know why he did it, but it was an intentional act."
Nigerian football fans, just like their mates from across Africa, idolise clubs in the European leagues, with that adoration often turning to confrontations between opposing fans. In 2007, an Arsenal supporter was stabbed in Lagos by an irate Bolton fan following the Gunners' defeat of the Manchurian team in the English Premiership.
Earlier this month, a Kenyan Arsenal fan hanged himself after Manchester United beat the London club in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League.